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Politics | ThisWeek Middle East

Category: Politics

Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson

By Yeganeh Torbati and Vladimir Soldatkin MOSCOW, April 12 – Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Any hope in Russia that the Trump administration would herald less confrontational relations has been dashed in the past week after the new U.S. leader fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow’s ally for its suspected use of poison gas. Just as Tillerson sat down for talks, a senior Russian official assailed the...

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Ai Weiwei calls on Gulf states to do more to help Syrian refugees

By Tom Finn DOHA, April 12 – Chinese artist Ai Weiwei called on wealthy Gulf Arab states to take in more Syrians displaced by six years of civil war, saying the surge of refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East was a “test for humanity”. Ai, often described as China’s most high-profile artist and dissident, has won acclaim for artwork highlighting the plight of Middle East refugees fleeing in boats to Europe. Last year Ai wrapped the giant columns of the Berlin Konzerthaus with 14,000 life jackets brought from the Greek island of Lesbos on whose beaches over a...

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G7 seeks broad support to isolate Syria’s Assad

By Steve Scherer and Crispian Balmer LUCCA, Italy, April 11 – The Group of Seven major global powers were joined by Middle East allies on Tuesday in a push to isolate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, hours before the U.S. secretary of state flies to Moscow, Assad’s top backer. G7 foreign ministers sat down early on Tuesday with their counterparts from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar – all of whom oppose Assad’s rule – to discuss the six-year-old civil war in Syria. Pressure is building on Russia to break its ties with Assad, who stands accused...

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Hardline prosecutor emerges as main challenger to Iran’s Rouhani

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin LONDON, April 10 – Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, seen as pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani’s main challenger in a May 19 election, is a close ally of Iran’s supreme leader and despises the West. The hardline faction in Tehran appears to have reached consensus on the candidacy of the 57-year-old cleric, hoping to avoid splitting the vote of those avid for what they see as a revival of the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Raisi is a mid-ranking figure in the hierarchy of Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim clergy but has been a senior official for decades in...

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May suggests free movement could continue during Brexit implementation – BBC

LONDON, April 5 – Prime Minister Theresa May has not ruled out allowing the free movement of people between Britain and the European Union during “an implementation phase” after Britain leaves the bloc, the BBC reported on Wednesday. May, who triggered the formal divorce procedure with the European Union last week, has said she expects some kind of implementation phase, or transitional agreement, after two years of talks with the bloc. She has offered few details on how an implementation phase would operate, but if Britain wants to keep the status quo before finalising a deal, it will have...

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British PM May to fire starting gun on Brexit

By Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper LONDON, March 29 – Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union. Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May will notify EU Council President Donald Tusk in a letter that the UK really is quitting the bloc it joined in 1973. The prime minister, an initial opponent of Brexit who won the top job in the political turmoil that followed the referendum vote, will then have...

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Merkel ally says Turkey’s Erdogan “not welcome” in Germany

BERLIN, March 21 – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has crossed a line by comparing Germany’s government to the Nazis and is no longer welcome in the country, a major ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. The rebuke from Volker Bouffier, premier of Hesse state, reflected growing exasperation over Erdogan’s assertions that Germany and other European powers were using Nazi tactics by banning Turkish political rallies in their territories. “Enough is enough,” said Bouffier, also vice chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. “Mr. Erdogan and his government are not welcome in our country, and that must be now...

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UK PM May to trigger Brexit on March 29 -spokesman

By William James and Gabriela Baczynska LONDON/BRUSSELS, March 20 – Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal notification of the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union, on March 29, a spokesman for the British leader said on Monday. The United Kingdom has informed European Council President Donald Tusk’s office of May’s intention, May’s spokesman said, confirming an earlier Reuters report from Brussels. “Last June, the people of the UK made the historic decision to leave the EU. Next Wednesday, the Government will deliver on that decision and formally start the...

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Israel’s Netanyahu repeats promise to build new West Bank settlement

By Ori Lewis JERUSALEM, March 16 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would honour his commitment to build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank, the first in two decades. The Israeli leader made the remarks hours before meeting with Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy. Netanyahu said he hoped an agreement could be reached with Washington on future Israeli settlements on land Palestinians want for a state. “To the settlers of Amona, I repeat, I gave you a commitment to build a new settlement and I will honour my...

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Brits still waiting for full Brexit comedy dividend

By Robin Pomeroy LONDON, March 16 – They were the two stories that rocked the Western world last year. But while Donald Trump’s election injected new life into U.S. political comedy, the British are still waiting for Brexit to usher in their new golden age of satire. Americans can choose from half a dozen weekly or nightly TV shows for acute observations of a political transformation that has given veteran actor Alec Baldwin a whole new career as a Trump impersonator. “(My comedy career) did die and I’m being reincarnated as Trump, oh God!” Baldwin told Reuters. In Britain,...

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